Monday, April 10, 2017

Easter-A Different Perspective

A look at Easter from a different perspective.
God's view versus men’s view versus the devil's view.
God saw his son die for man, while Satan saw God's Son die.
Man, wanted God's son to die because the devil’s trickery blinded them. They only saw a competition to their reign on the souls of men. Leaders of that time thought they had a line on being spiritual. Their blinded eyes left them longing for what they did not know they needed. Their pharisaical nature led them to their unholy love for the God they believed they were serving.
God saw his son's love for others, their love for his powers. The Father looked down and watched as His Only Son became a rock that many depended upon. Others desiring his company more than what he could do for them. Betrayal by one of Christ's own disciples. Beating by the guards and other hurtful words. Scorn by the people he will always love. Death on a cruel cross, breathing out forgiveness and mercy. The tomb, the rented one. The earth-hewn grave which would have no power over Him.
The devil saw Jesus' denial of him. The miracles he performed. The crowds he gathered. The wisdom Jesus imparted. The times he would attempt to kill Jesus. The betrayal of one of Jesus' own orchestrated by the devil himself. The kiss of death. The false accusations, perpetrated by the demons. The trial of God's son, the Most-High God. The beatings. The crown of thorns. The shame, the mockery. The cross. The nails hammered in so tightly. The sword piercing his side. The agony of staying on the cross for hours. The final curtain call of one so mighty. The death of Jesus. The burial. The resurrection of one Jesus Christ.
The devil lost the keys to hell and the grave over a few days. Yes, he can accuse and snap at you all day long, however, he is a defeated foe. A foe, whose eventual destination is the lake of fire.
God’s love is unmistakable in its pursuit of the creation. God’s love is undeniable in its hunt for the souls of men. The devil seeks to destroy the souls of men; God’s love seeks to empower and save these souls. Empowering. Inspiring. Energizing. Encouraging. Words that enable the creation to become what the Creator embraced.
God’s perspective allows Him to view the Easter story from on high. Man, only sees the world around them as through a glass. Satan’s view showcases the view of a defeated being never acknowledging his own impermanence.
If we were to view Easter from God’s view, would we view our own lives in a different way? Would we be less volatile to the notion of seeing the Savior hung on a tree? Would we desire to be more like Christ and less like the devil incarnate?
Only viewing the story of Easter through the Father’s eyes can we fully see our mortality and our own insecurities manifested. Our powerlessness. His dynamite power. Our uncertainties. His certain acts of goodness. Our anxieties. His confident roar. Our timidity. His spirit of authority.
Our view of Easter is more like Easter egg hunts and dinners. It is also about the Easter bunny who presumably brings colored, sometimes prized Easter eggs. But is Easter really all about this? Is it about the bright clothes, the bright colors, the bright smiles? Yes, all these things are important but are they what this time of year is all about? Did God, the Father of Jesus, proclaim this as a feast? Or did He want this day to remind you/me of something more? Grander? Greater? Exquisite?
God, gave us Easter for the victory of the Passover. Now, is not that what happened to the Israelites when the angel of death passed over their house some many years before? God via His spirit, passed over the earth and His Son was the blood sacrifice that painted our heart’s doors. Once Jesus died and breathed His last breath, the Father’s presence became real while the earth shattered and quaked. The Father left heaven and visited the tomb by an angel. Even though, many believed God abandoned His Son. Jesus even more-so said, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?” In other words, “why did You leave Me, Daddy, when I needed You the most?” God, in His sovereignty, had to be as far away as He could while the sins lay bare on Jesus’ life as the one true sacrificial lamb.
However, once Jesus died, then a burial and left to rot, so-to-speak, the power that once flowed through Him, came back. And as the power came back, the light that had dimmed by the world shone brightly again. This time though, Jesus’ unfinished business with the devil cost the devil more than he could handle.
We view the cross and it's awfulness, yet cannot see the beauty of His sacrifice. The splendor. The exceptionalism. The power. The selfless love.
Let us look at Easter from a few of men's eyes...the soldier who said, "surely this was the son of God." The other soldiers who spat in his face. The disciple who took on Jesus' mom as his own. The thieves on the crosses beside Jesus. For when we see through their eyes, we may catch a glimpse of who we are.
As we look to the ways people would view the Easter season, allow me to publish something from my Pastor’s sermon Sunday. Consider the crowd of that first Holy Week...The Passover Week…
A. The Passer-By (The Innocent)
a. Caught up without any purpose--Takes time to understand the situation...
B. The Poor (The Inspired)
a. Christ offered them something the Romans could not...Hope
C. The Political (The Incited)
a. This part of the crowd seemed to be looking for someone to overthrow the Romans. However, kings ride horses, a savior rides a donkey
D. The Powerful (The Intolerant)
a. The Pharisees
E. The Passionate (The True Believers) Those touched by the deliverer, the savior, the healer
Prophesy required His death and resurrection. To fulfill the requirement of shedding blood for sin. To fulfill the requirement to be with God. It was necessary to quiet hell. To extinguish the fiery darts thrown by Satan. To conquer the gates of hell by taking away the devil's keys. Jesus death proved that we were sinners in need of a Savior. One of the thieves realized this and desired the consequences of knowing Christ. One thief mocked and received the just reward of his deeds.
As the week begins anew, holy week becomes a bunch of tradition and pomp. It is in this tradition we see the soldier's anger and tempers flare. As the crowds gathered, the tomb lay empty and awaiting the body of the soon to be Savior of the world. The soldiers would desire blood, the disciples would desire a family, the Pharisees would desire a death. The crowd would desire sacrifice, the Savior would desire heaven's court to the agony he knew he would have to endure.
One of the soldier’s attitudes toward Christ would change. Some of them would belittle and mock Jesus. Others would be of disgust and hatred. Alas, one soldier realized that he was witnessing and viewing a moment in time like no other. This soldier bowed his head and allegiance to the one true King. This soldier, I believe, may have wept alongside Mary and the disciple whom Jesus said, “This is now your son, and this is now your mother.”
God desired a fresh relationship with humans, however, he knew the only way was through the blood of a spotless sacrifice. One that had no blemish, no imperfections, no marks of sin. God desired a relationship built on trust and loyalty. God’s trust is unequaled. His trust is undeniable. God’s trust is unquenchable. Our trust is manipulative. It trust is faithless. Our trust is incomplete. Our trust needs a dose of His goodness and faithfulness. God in His wisdom knew we would have no other choice but to rely upon Him. He knew before He created this world that we would need a Savior. God’s love showed through to us to the cross.
The cross brought on a revolution, a revival that is still shaking the very core of the earth.
As we consider the people, the soldiers, the families, the Savior, the Father and the Holy Spirit, let us remember these simple truths. Christ did not have to come down, be born, live, suffer and then die. He could have stayed up in Heaven and allowed us to wallow in our sin. However, He played an active role in our deliverance and salvation. He paid the ultimate sacrifice. His actions require nothing from us to complete the circle. His actions while alive on earth and subsequent death and resurrection reveal a much greater plan is playing out on our behalf.
Until next time,
God Bless
Brian Ferguson

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Death-the final eclipse

I write what I feel and right now I know there has been a lot of grief and sorrow and joy going around because of loved ones passing on.  Please know this was written to lift you up into the arms of Jesus.

Death-the final eclipse…
“Son, your dad passed away this morning.”  “Son, your mom is now in the arms of Jesus.”  “Little one, your papa is with us no more, he went to be with his family in heaven.”  “Sir, we pray your wife is in a better place now that she is gone.”  “Child, an automobile accident took your parents today.”

These are the words, no one wants to hear. They are words that strike to the very heart of who we are as human beings.  They are words that no one can describe to you-the pain you feel and keep feeling long after the shock of the loss.  I still feel the sting today of those words last fall when my mom called to tell me, my about my dad passing away in his sleep that morning.  I cried for what seemed like a year but was only a few minutes. I still wish I could have talked to him one more time.

 It’s painful to be a writer and not know how to put down exactly how you feel.  It’s also painful to have to listen to someone else’s thoughts about your father and not be able to speak a word of encouragement or knowledge.

Death-the final eclipse-is not a metaphor for space as so much for time.  Time wasted. Time diluted. Time squandered.  Time misused.  Fruitless time. Unproductive time.  Pointless time. You catch my drift I hope.  Time is all we as humans are given on earth.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 "For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;  a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;  a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace."

Everything else in life we must beg, barter, and plead for.  Yes, God relinquished His mighty power on earth in the form of His Spirit, through His Son.  However, even that is time driven: He has already said He is coming back for a spotless bride.  He has already said His Son will be back to claim what was declared to Him by the angels.

From the Bible: Ecclesiastes 8:8-No man has power to retain the spirit, or power over the day of death. There is no discharge from war, nor will wickedness deliver those who are given to it.  

God can and will do what He wants in His time.   He just does it in His way and under His direction.  Even the things we think are done according to our will, He orchestrates them to His will.

Gen 18:23-33 “Then Abraham drew near and said, "Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked?   Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city. Will you then sweep away the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it?  Far be it from you to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?"   And the LORD said, "If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will spare the whole place for their sake."  Abraham answered and said, "Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes.  Suppose five of the fifty righteous are lacking. Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five?" And he said, "I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there."   Again, he spoke to him and said, "Suppose forty are found there." He answered, "For the sake of forty I will not do it." Then he said, "Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak. Suppose thirty are found there." He answered, "I will not do it, if I find thirty there."   He said, "Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord. Suppose twenty are found there." He answered, "For the sake of twenty I will not destroy it."  Then he said, "Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak again but this once. Suppose ten are found there." He answered, "For the sake of ten I will not destroy it."   And the LORD went his way when he had finished speaking to Abraham, and Abraham returned to his place.”

For death to be permanent in the life of a non-believer is literal hell.  Death in the life of a 
believer is, however, the ultimate reward and therefore the ultimate end to this journey we call life.  Heaven is freedom. Hell is chains.  Heaven is life.  Hell is final death.  Heaven is ultimate rest.  Hell is ultimate torment.  For when believers in Christ come to their final stop, all will be forgiven. 

Genesis_14:22 But Abram said to the king of Sodom, "I have lifted my hand to the LORD, God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth,

Genesis 24:7 The LORD, the God of heaven, who took me from my father's house and from the land of my kindred, and who spoke to me and swore to me, 'To your offspring I will give this land,' he will send his angel before you, and you shall take a wife for my son from there.

Psalm 14:2 The LORD looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God.

Psalm 121:2-8 My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.  He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.  Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.  The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade on your right hand.  The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.  The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.  The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.

Death came about because of free will and the laws that were broken.  Before sin and death, there was harmonious bliss that lasted for who-on-earth knows how long? However, because of the sin of Adam and Eve by the gall of the serpent’s tongue, we are born into sin, we live in sin and we will die in sin.   Yet, there is a way to overcome this sin nature and sin problem we so desperately have. More on that in a moment.

Death and sin are so interchangeable it makes the demons blush.  For without the demonic atmosphere buzzing around, death would have no sting over you, the grave could not hold you and the victory would be yours eternally.
God gave man and woman, something no other created being has, a will and a soul.  His love for man and woman far outreached His desire to have puppets on a marionette string do His eternal bidding.  Yet, He desired a relationship, fellowship, and worship from the one thing He knew might reject Him.

When death entered the world through one selfish act of treason, it sent a shock-wave through the entire galaxy.  God knew this would happen even before it happened, yet He allowed it to happen to prove a point.  That point is, without Him as your Lord and Savior, life is not worth living unless you are living it in His arms.  Under His wings.  In His bosom.  Under the shelter of the Almighty.  Within the confines of His tower.  Within the crevice where His glory shines forth. 

Exodus 33:17-23 And the LORD said to Moses, "This very thing that you have spoken I will do, for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name."  Moses said, "Please show me your glory."  And he said, "I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you, my name 'The LORD.' And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. But," he said, "you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live." And the LORD said, "Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by.  Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen."
Proverbs 18:10 “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.”

Exodus_19:4 “You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you 
on eagles' wings and brought you to myself.”

Psalm_17:8 “Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings”

Psalm 57:1 “Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for, in you, my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.”

God in His infinite wisdom, knew we would face death.  He knew we would be bombarded with the finite edge of eternity.  He knew we would be inundated with the possibility of never seeing our loved ones again.  Yet, He provided a way for us to be with Him. To experience happiness. To experience true joy. To experience utter happiness.  To be with Him.

If you wish to experience this ever-powerful and life-changing deal, I can introduce you to Jesus Christ.  I can help you to the peace that passes all understanding.  I can assist you in having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  All you must do is accept that you need a savior. Accept that God wants to have a heartfelt relationship with you.  Believe that God raised Him from the dead.  Believe that God will save you if you ask Him to.  Confess your sins to Him and accept His forgiveness for them. 

Death can be a harrowing incident yet a glorious one to experience.  It can leave you with guilt or gladness.  Heart-ache or happiness.   Regret or repentance. 

God’s love for you is tantamount to His power manifested in the life and death of His Son.  Are you ready to Accept? Believe? Confess? 

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